One of our tasks throughout the Social Enterprise Sector Development programme is to help Government understand what is going on in Aotearoa’s social enterprise sector. One of the ways we do this is by writing an ‘insights report’ every three months recording what we’ve learnt.

Here’s a summary of our report for July, August and September 2018:

There is broad support for the programme, and the areas we are focusing on for year one.

  1. Addressing the issue of an agreed definition of social enterprise is a priority. This feedback supports our decision to commission two pieces of related research:

    1. Investigation into the barriers that currently exist for social enterprises due to the current legal forms available.

    2. Investigation of the similarities and differences in a social enterprise versus community economic development approach to societal change.

  2. Capability development is at the heart of what social enterprises need to thrive, whether it is to start, scale, become investment-ready or procurement-ready. This insight is the reason we are focused on supporting the development of locally-led regional hubs.

  3. Many of the social enterprises we have spoken to are already trying to find ways to measure their impact but generally the sector is asking for more support with this important task.

  4. The Kitchen Table Talks are proving to be helpful in informing and shaping the programme’s direction and next steps, through highlighting certain sector needs.

  5. We’ve seen an increase in media interest in social enterprise since The Impact Initiative launched. This is helpful for increasing public debate and interest about the role and place of social enterprise in providing better social and environmental outcomes.

  6. There is a lot of interest in the Legal Barriers research Ākina is currently undertaking. This seems to be related to the desire for a standard definition to reduce the risk of ‘impact washing’.

  7. Organisations are reporting inconsistency in achieving charitable status when ‘social enterprise’ is mentioned in their purpose statements. Some are successful, and others are knocked back.

  8. Engagement with Māori in Tairawhiti has indicated there is a desire to develop social enterprise education and support services with a distinctive kaupapa Māori approach that is driven by Māori yet available for all those within the community.

  9. Our initial assumption was that we needed to create a national mentoring programme and that demand existed for mentoring. This has been tested and in fact it seems that there isn’t a need for a national mentoring programme. This is because there are many existing community-led or community centric mentor programmes that could be extended to target social enterprises.

  10. There is significant demand for investment readiness support, with twice as many social enterprises applying to this years programme compared to last years. However due to lack of available resource we expect to only be able to offer funding to 6% of applicants.

Hopefully you feel it is an accurate reflection of the what the sector is saying, but please get in touch with me to give any feedback

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Matthew Luxon
November 2018